Cameras not allowed in courtroom to cover Trump’s arraignment

A view from behind the witness stand looking towards the gallery in Courtroom #8 which will be full of prospective jury candidates. (Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 9:31 AM – Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s arraignment has denied the request from media outlets to allow cameras to the cover the live court proceedings in Manhattan on Tuesday.


New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan said that the court would allow five still photographers in the courtroom before the proceedings begin, who will be given “several minutes” before they have to leave.

All other video, and radio journalists will not be permitted inside the courtroom. The judge also said that electronic devices will not be allowed inside the courtroom.

“The use of cellphones, laptops or any electronic devices will be strictly prohibited in the courtrooms. Any such devices will have to be turned off and secured outside of public view while in the courtrooms,” he wrote.

Cameras are typically not allowed in New York courtrooms, but due to the circumstances, media outlets have asked for an exception. District Attorney Alvin Bragg argued that the presence of cameras would raise “a number of concerns.”

Among the concerns listed by court documents, some were “the prejudicial impact of pretrial publicity on the jurors, the impact on the truthfulness of the witnesses, responsibilities placed on the trial judge to assure a fair trial and the impact on the [defendant].”

Trump’s lawyers also agreed that cameras would result in a “circus-like atmosphere,” as well as raise security concerns and “inevitably result in prejudice.”

Judge Merchan said that he had considered “all relevant factors” in his ruling. He said he considered whether live cameras “would interfere with the fair administration of justice” as well as “law enforcement activity.”

Merchan also ruled that the integrity of the court outweighed the significance of the case and the public interest attached to it.

“Never in the history of the United States has a sitting or past president been indicted on criminal charges,” he added. “The populace rightly hungers for the most accurate and current information available. To suggest otherwise would be disingenuous. Understandably, the News Organizations want to fulfill their responsibilities and argue that obtaining the broadest possible public access helps advance that mission. Unfortunately, although genuine and undoubtedly important, the interests of the News Organizations must be weighed against competing interests. This Court is now called upon to engage in that balancing exercise.”

However, the judge did say that cameras would be allowed in the hallway of the building. He also approved two overflow rooms for additional seating at the request of media members.

The former president is set to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in New York.

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